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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
DPA/PA Images

Bank of Ireland has poached a senior UK exec for its new CEO

HSBC’s Francesca McDonagh will be the pillar bank’s first female chief.

BANK OF IRELAND has poached a senior executive from HSBC to take over as chief executive at the lender.

Francesca McDonagh, currently head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC for Europe and the UK, will leave her position and assume the role when current CEO Richie Boucher steps down later this year.

In addition to her role as group CEO, McDonagh will also take on the responsibilities for executive director on the board of the group from the start of October 2017. She is the first woman to head the bank in its 234-year history.

McDonagh has been with HSBC for nearly 20 years and worked across numerous international divisions, such as the group’s offices in Hong Kong, Dubai, Egypt, Mexico, Indonesia and Oman.

In her current role, she is responsible for retail customer service and products for the three HSBC brands – HSBC, M&S Bank and First Direct.

Speaking about the announcement, Bank of Ireland governor Archie Kane said McDonagh’s appointment has come following a “thorough search” and she was selected from a strong shortlist of “exceptional candidates”.

“I am very pleased that we have been successful in attracting a person of the calibre and experience of Francesca to the group,” he said.

Women in Finance panel discussion PA Archive / PA Images Francesca McDonagh PA Archive / PA Images / PA Images

Kane also paid tribute to the role Boucher played with the bank over the last eight years. The Zambian-born executive was the last remaining head of a major Irish bank from the bailout era. Kane said:

Richie has been an outstanding success at Bank of Ireland, and leaves the bank in a much stronger position than he inherited when he took up the role of CEO in February 2009.

Boucher was appointed to the top job at the bank shortly after the government’s fateful bank-guarantee decision.


The 58-year-old announced his plans to leave Bank of Ireland in March of this year, stepping down from his position as group CEO, while also resigning as a director of the company.

In a statement at the time, Boucher said it was time for fresh leadership at the bank.

“I will be 59 in August of this year and I feel it best for the group that someone else leads the group’s next stage of development.

“This has influenced my decision to retire from the group at this time, and to focus on the other things which I might like to do with my life.”

Bank of Ireland results PA Archive / PA Images Richie Boucher PA Archive / PA Images / PA Images

Boucher replaced former Bank of Ireland boss Brian Goggin shortly before the bank received its first bailout loan of €3.5 billion in 2009. The bank has since returned to profit, although the state continues to own a 14% stake in the lender.

Since Boucher’s appointment, AIB, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank have all seen new leadership as they have rebuilt since the crash, while former Anglo CEO David Drumm has been charged for his alleged role in the bank’s collapse.

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Correction: A previous version of this article said Bank of Ireland received a bailout loan of “€3.5 million” in 2009. This has been corrected to “€3.5 billion”.

Written by Killian Woods and posted on

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